Learning From Mistakes – 5 Things I Did Wrong This Season


As Cody reminded us last week, the hunting season isn’t over.  There is still good hunting left to be experienced.  But, for me, the season is practically over.  I’ve got a few hunts left, but for the most part I am already transitioning – assessing what worked this season, what didn’t, and what I am going to do next year.

I knew from the beginning that this season was going to be an experiment.  Sure, I was hoping to shoot a mature buck, but that wasn’t my only goal.  I took the “big picture” approach this year.  My goals for this season weren’t about this season; my goals were about the future and building better skills and experience as a hunter.  I wanted to try new tactics, get a better understanding of the land that I was hunting, and ultimately grow as a hunter.  Of course I wanted to put some meat in the freezer, too.  And fortunately I was able to do that.

A lot of articles are written about success stories, as well as tips and tricks that work well for the writer.  But today I want to take a different approach and tell you what I did wrong.  I want to learn from my mistakes, and hopefully you can too.

Don’t Hunt Pretty

Here, I’m talking about the “pretty” spots.  You know – the well-groomed plot, the perfect open oak ridge, or the active sign (scrapes, rubs, etc).  The “pretty” spots look ideal, and often they do see a good amount of deer activity, but many times that activity isn’t during legal shooting hours.  It can pay to hunt near these spots, but don’t just hunt on top of them – assess travel routes, entry/exit points, and staging areas that deer use to get to them.

You know that spot that is hard to get to, difficult to hunt in, and presents a lot of logistical challenges?  The deer are probably there, and you should be there too. Speaking of places that are hard to reach…

Continue reading at WiredToHunt.com

Wired To Hunt Logo

How To – An Easy Do-It-Yourself Deer Antler Mount

Mounted On The Wall

Today we are going to look at a cheap, easy way to mount deer antlers.  There are several popular mounting kits on the market, but I chose to come up with my own method. Unfortunately I didn’t start this project with the intention of writing a step-by-step “how to” manual to build such a mount, but I think you will see that what I put together is really quite simple.  And I do have some pointers to share!

This mount turned out so well that even my wife likes it, which means that I got to hang it in the living room!  That, my friends, is a win!

The Antler Mount

Materials Needed

  • You are going to need some basic tools: a drill, drill bits, a level, a tape measure, etc.  There are no special tools required.
  • You are going to need some antlers.  I used a matching set of antlers, which were cut off at the bases.  You can even use shed antlers for this mount!
  • If you are using detached antlers then you are going to use a “shed spreader”.  This is a replica portion of a skull, which represents an anatomical way to mount antlers.  I used the Mountain Mike’s Reproductions Shed Spreader, which I would highly recommend.
  • You are going to need a board to mount the antlers and shed spreader to.  I used barn wood to get a country, vintage look.
  • If you want to cover up the white shed spreader, as I have done, then you are going to need some material for that.  I chose to use jute twine to further accent the country look.
  • You are going to needs some miscellaneous hardware to mount the entire piece to your wall.
The Wall Mount Assembly

Getting Started

This mount needs to be assembled in proper order.

  • Start by selecting, cutting, and preparing the main board.
  • Next you want to add mounting hardware to the rear of the main board.  I used standard photo frame hangers.
  • Because the barn wood I was using was fragile and somewhat warped, I chose to use a mounting board/block for the mounting hardware.  One advantage of this method is that it creates a gap between the wall and the main board, which makes it look like the whole assembly is sort of “floating” on the wall.
  • Now that you have the main board assembled, you can move on to the antler assembly.
  • Mount the antlers to the Mike’s Shed Spreader using the instructions that come in the package.  (This is really easy.)
  • Now you are going to wrap the shed spreader with the jute material.  I used a hot glue gun to secure the start and end points of the strands.  You want to wrap the jute close to the shed spreader, but not too tight.
  • You are now ready to mount the antler assembly to the board.  Once again, this can be done with the help of the instruction included in the Mike’s Shed Spreader.  If you wrapped the shed spreader in jute, then just spread the jute material to insert and fasten the mounting screws.
Twine Detail

Tips & Tricks

Here are a few things to consider if you are going to use old barn wood for the main board.

Barn Wood - Edge Detail
  • Old barn wood is fragile!  The wood that I used was ~100 years old and I had to use caution when working with it.  I would NOT attempt to use mounting hardware directly on old barn wood.
  • Part of the appeal of the old barn wood is the rough edges, but if you have to cut your wood then you are going to lose that look.  However, here are a few ways to re-create that look…
  • Cut the barn wood at a 45 degree angled bevel, so that the edge tapers in to the rear of the board.
  • Use the claw of a hammer to chip away at the cut and beveled edges to recreate the natural, rough look of aged barn wood.

That’s It!

Obviously this isn’t a detailed step-by-step instructional, but I hope it gave you a good idea to mount some of your antlers in a unique way.

Please leave a comment if you have any questions!

Concern For The Whitetail Hunting Community

Will you do me a favor?  Will you read my latest article for Wired to Hunt?  Don’t just skim it, or glance at it.  Read it and think about it.

I don’t care what you think of the writing, or what “gaps” you may find it my reasoning.  I know that this post over-simplified the issues and painted with a broad brush.  The article isn’t perfect, and neither is the author.  Nevertheless, I think you should read it, think about it, and hopefully do something because of it.



I have been contributing to Wired to Hunt for several months now, and hopefully that means that I am a part of the family, because there are a few things that I want to talk about today that are controversial.  Now, I say that I hope I am considered part of the “family” because context matters and because relationship matters.  The concerns and critiques that I bring up today aren’t coming as an attack from an outsider.  In fact this isn’t an attack at all, just some concerns that a member of the “whitetail hunting family” has about our future.

I am concerned about the future of hunting.  I’m not trying to be apocalyptic; in fact, there are a lot of positive trends happening right now that are helping strengthen the future of hunting, at least temporarily.  But, the fact of the matter is, there are some large issues that should be concerning.

Continue reading at WiredToHunt.com

Wired To Hunt Logo

Gear Review – Badlands’ New Bio-Thermic Apparel Line

Last spring I was given the opportunity to get an advanced look at some of Badlands’ new Bio-Thermic apparel.  I received a pre-production prototype of the Velocity jacket, which convinced me that the Badlands line was going to be worth investigating further.  (You can see my first impressions of the Velocity jacket HERE.)  Since then I have picked up more pieces from the line; some of these items were given to me by Badlands and some items I purchased on my own.

Badlands Bio-Thermic Apparel

I have waited until now to review these items because I didn’t want to make this review an “off the shelf” look at these items.  I wanted to use these garments extensively and give you an accurate “in use” review of what I have been using, and in some case abusing, since early September.

I’ll share some of my overall impressions of the whole apparel line below, but first I will give you an opportunity to jump straight to the individual reviews of the items that I have used this season.

Click on the following icons to read a review and watch a short video on the items…

Badlands Momentum PantBadlands Momentum Pant
Badlands Momentum PantBadlands Momentum Pant


The Badlands Apparel Line – Overall Impressions

Overall, I think that the Badlands apparel is a great set of clothing which can be suited to a wide variety of needs.  In the past I have struggled to find the right set of hunting clothes to meet the demands of my long hunting seasons.  I am glad that Badlands, like other modern hunting clothing manufacturers, has put together system where individual pieces can stand alone or be combined to work together and provide you with suitable apparel for a wide variety of weather conditions.

Hunting in the Velocity jacket

The Badlands apparel line reminds me a lot of their packs – both product lines are durable, functional, and obviously designed by hunters, for hunters.  Badlands gives attention to little details, which make their designs stand out above the rest.

Materials – I love the materials that Badlands has put together for their apparel line.  Both the fleece and insulated pieces provide adequate warmth without being bulky.  Their soft shell material has an awesome stretch to it, so instead of binding with movement, the clothes work with you.

Design/Functionality – Speaking of materials, Badlands has put a lot of thought into which materials go where – even going so far as to utilize completely different types of fleece in one garment to target different areas of the body.  Other nice design/functionality elements include the grip lining at the bottom of the jackets, the adjustable cuffs, the accessible pocket layouts, and the addition of the built-in, removable gators on the Momentum pant.

Momentum Pant Detail

Construction – The construction of the Badlands gear is very good overall.  The stitching is stout the fabrics are tough; I haven’t had any durability issues with rips, tears, snags, etc.  One construction issue that I did encounter is a zipper that went off track on my Convection bibs – a minor problem that Badlands will repair or replace with their awesome warranty and customer service.  It would be nice to see Badlands step up to the popular and trusted YKK zippers, but that said, I have not had any other issues with any of the zippers on the other Badlands pieces, which I have used extensively.

Fit – The overall ‘fit’ of the Badlands apparel could be considered ‘athletic’.  I don’t know about you, but in the past I have struggled to find hunting clothes, especially hunting pants, that fit well.  You don’t want something too baggy, but you don’t want something too restrictive.  Badlands nails the fit of this line – it minimizes bulk and bagginess, but the stretch of the materials and articulation of the garment’s cut allows the pieces to move with you.

OverallI would definitely recommend that you check out Badlands Bio-Thermic apparel line.  If you are looking for a combination of quality, features, comfort and durability, then the Badlands apparel is a great option to consider.  Quality hunting clothes won’t make you a better hunter, but they can make you hunt better – by enabling you to stay in the field longer during challenging and variable weather conditions.

View the complete lineup of Badlands’ Bio-Thermic Apparel at BadlandsPacks.com

Detailed Reviews

Cold Weather Bowhunting – 4 Things You Shouldn’t Do

Sunrise On A Frosty Morning

We have had a very mild fall so far in my area. In fact, I could have hunted in a t-shirt during the majority of the past couple weeks.  However, December is almost here, and as many of us wrap up our bowhunting seasons into January we will have to face some tough late-season conditions.  Here are four things that you can’t do if you are to remain an effective, accurate bowhunter and finish your season strong.

1)     Don’t forget the fundamentals

My days of dedicated practice sessions are long-gone.  The summer nights that I spent flinging arrow-after-arrow seem like a distant memory.  Sure, I have shot a few arrows here and there, but if I’m honest I would have to admit that my shooting effectiveness isn’t at 100% right now.  It is vital that I don’t forget the fundamentals of a good shot; using my shot sequence is more important now than it ever has been.

It is dark when I leave for work and dark when I return home in the evening.  Time to practice is hard to come by, so I have to get creative.  Shooting just a couple of arrows a day will help keep me sharp, even if I am shooting them at point blank range in my garage.

How can you get creative and find a way to maintain your shooting form?  Could you practice in your basement or garage?  Make it a goal to shoot just a couple of arrows a day, and don’t focus on the results, just focus on executing a relaxed shot with proper form.

2)     Don’t allow interference

We all know what a challenge it can be to stay warm in a treestand when the mercury falls.  And sometimes it seems nearly impossible to stay warm without looking like the Michelin Man…

Continue reading at WiredToHunt.com

Wired To Hunt Logo